Nigeria’s human rights record remains poor and government officials at all levels continue to commit serious abuses.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the most significant human rights problems are: extrajudicial killings and use of excessive force by security forces; impunity for abuses by security forces; arbitrary arrests; prolonged pretrial detention; judicial corruption and executive influence on the judiciary; rape, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees and suspects; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and forced labor; societal violence and vigilante killings; child labor, child abuse and child sexual exploitation; female genital mutilation (FGM); domestic violence; discrimination based on sex, ethnicity, region and religion; restrictions on freedom of assembly, movement, press, speech and religion; infringement of privacy rights; and the abridgement of the right of citizens to change the government.

Twelve northern states have adopted the Shari’a penal code: Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara. The Shari’a penal code only applies to Muslims. It provides harsh sentences for alcohol consumption, infidelity and theft, including amputation, lashing, stoning and long prison terms. Homosexuality can be punished by lashing or stoning.

Christian pastors in Nigeria have been accused of involvement in the torturing and killing of children accused of witchcraft. Over the past decade, over 1000 children have been murdered as “witches”.[4] Church pastors, in an effort to distinguish themselves from the competition, have been accused of decrying witchcraft in an effort to establish their “credientials”.